UK carers suffering due to lack of support

Carers Week launched today with research that revealed that carers are being woefully let down by a lack of support when they first take on a caring role. The findings from the report, Prepared to care, show that support is not being made available to new carers with often devastating consequences.

The research of over 2,100 carers, showed that 75% of carers were not prepared for all aspects of caring and 81% were not aware of the support available to them from the outset and 35% believe they were given the wrong advice about the support on offer.

With around 6.5 million carers in the uk and 6,000 people taking on a new caring role every day, the charities within the Carers Week partnership are calling for the government, GPs and health and social care professionals to ensure that more support is given to carers from day one of their caring role.

The research also outlines the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have as people are not prepared for the impact of their caring role.

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore. Every day across the country, 6,000 people take on new caring responsibilities and too often they face the challenges of caring without support. Becoming a carer can happen overnight and without information and guidance, carers can be left feeling isolated and alone.

“The figures clearly show that many carers aren’t being offered support and if they are, it can often be wrong or not the full information. The consequences for carers are huge, so it’s vital that GPs, health and social care professionals and the government all play a role to ensure that carers are offered the support they deserve from day one.

Carers Week provides the ideal opportunity for people to find out about the support available to them locally and from the campaign’s charity partners and supporters.”

Carers flagged as part of the survey that they would have benefitted from better support and information from day one. As part of the report,Prepared to care. carers stated what would have and made a difference to their experience, which included:

  1. Better public understanding and recognition of carers.
  2. Access to information and the right support from the beginning.
  3. Professionals understanding the role of carers and sharing information, decision making and planning with them.
  4. Access to high quality practical and emotional support and information as well as breaks from caring.
  5. Flexible working practices and understanding from employers.
  6. Financial support and a fair and easy to navigate welfare system.

Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities –Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, MacMillian Cancer Support,Marie Curie, Cancer Care MS Sociaty, Parkinson’s Issues and supported by the stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell.  In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England, Skills for care.


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